What Is Laparoscopic Surgery?
Laparoscopic surgery or Minimally Invasive Surgery is a technique that allows your surgeon to perform complex operations through small incisions. It involves placing a telescope connected to a video camera and light source to gain visualization on a television monitor. This provides a magnified view for the surgeon making visualization of vital organs even better than in many traditional open procedures. Instrumentation has been developed now to make this safer while expanding the spectrum of surgeries that can be performed. Some of the advances include High Definition cameras, newer stapling and cutting devices increase safety dividing bowel and blood vessels, and even Robotics allowing 3D visualization and a much wider range of motion simulating open surgery.
What operations can be done laparoscopically?
In order to determine whether a surgery should be done laparoscopically, three questions must be answered in the affirmative. First, can the same operation be done safely laparoscopically as is done in a traditional open approach? Second, can this surgery be done with less pain and faster recovery for the patient? And lastly, is the cosmesis improved over open surgery? (Obviously this last option is less important than the first two but not a trivial consideration. It is actually one of the driving forces behind single site and natural orifice surgery.)
Most any abdominal operation that has traditionally been through a large incision can now be done laparoscopically. It began in 1989 in the United States with a laparoscopic cholecysectomy or gall bladder removal but has made tremendous strides since then. We are currently performing hernia surgery, colon surgery, solid organ removal, weight loss surgery and foregut surgery (stomach and esphageal surgery) through laparoscopic techniques. (for a complete list see our "Surgeries" section on our home page)
Can cancer surgery be done laparoscopically?
YES. Initially there was much controversy over this topic. It was felt that an adequate cancer operation could not be done, cancer would be missed or left behind after a minimally invasive approach. Multiple studies have shown this not to be the case. With advances both in pre-operative imaging techniques (CAT scan & MRI) and operative techniques many cancer surgeries can be done laparoscopically with similar benefits as with noncancerous diagnoses. In fact with regards to colon cancer, there are actually some studies that suggest a survival benefit when done laparoscopcially for stage III or advanced cancer.
Who should be performing laparoscopic surgery?
Your surgeon should be well trained in laparoscopic techniques prior to performing any laparoscopic surgery but most importantly the more complex operations. Here at Advanced Surgeons PC we are proud to boast an additional year of fellowship training in laparoscopic surgery by one of the world's leaders in this field. When considering surgery you should ask your surgeon about his training in laparoscopic surgery, the numbers of surgeries he/she has done, and his/her success rate for completing the operation laparoscopically.